It's almost sea turtle nesting season here on Siesta Key! Florida sea turtles nest every summer from early May through the end of October. If your stay coincides with this season, then you have the opportunity to experience the nesting and/or hatching of sea turtles at one of our local beaches.
When nesting, a turtle will dig a hole on the beach a foot or two deep, using her back flippers, and lay her eggs. Then she will cover the nest with sand and head back to the ocean. Two months later, the eggs hatch at night and a group of little turtles head into the ocean. A female turtle can lay multiple nests in one season and only nests every two or three years.
In the past century, sea turtles have become endangered. One of the greatest threats to sea turtles is the effect of artificial lighting on their hatching. When the baby turtles hatch and leave the nest, they follow the light of the moon reflected off the water, into the ocean. But, artificial light can disrupt this process and result in baby turtles moving towards the light in the wrong direction. Luckily, through public awareness and the help of officials dedicated to wildlife preservation, many sea turtles are helped safely back to the ocean.
More sea turtles nest in Florida than anywhere else in the country. Joining a sea turtle walk is one of the best ways to potentially witness Florida sea turtle nesting or hatching. Most sessions are groups of twenty to forty observers. Many organized sea turtle walks are free - under $20. These turtle walks are great opportunities to learn more about Florida's sea life and experience the wonder first-hand.